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All Pruning Is Not Created Equal

Proper pruning of your trees is imperative not only for aesthetic appeal of your landscape, but also to maintain the health of your trees. For a new tree, pruning fosters healthy growth, sturdy branching structure, and necessary shaping. Pruning can also help in the building of the strength of a tree to combat extreme weather conditions. For example, a properly thinned tree will be better able to withstand high winds in events such as hurricanes or storms.  However, pruning is a process, and each cut that is made has the potential to change the growth of the tree. In fact, if a tree is pruned improperly the result can be damage that will extend to the full life of the tree, or could even shorten the lifespan of the tree.

Common reasons to start the pruning process are to remove dead or dying limbs, balance or shape the tree, or to remove branches that may have become hazardous to your home or family.

Most maintenance pruning can actually take place at any time throughout the year without negatively affecting the tree. Woundwood development and tree health is potentially increased when pruning occurs in early spring. To avoid tree stress, it is recommended that a heavy pruning is not done immediately after the visible spring growth of the tree. Heavy pruning is recommended to be done in the fall.

However, all pruning is not created equal. Here are different types of pruning from which trees can benefit:

Crown Cleaning: Dead, dying, weakly attached, crowded, or diseased branches are removed from the crown of the tree.

Crown Raising: Lower branches from the tree are removed to improve clearance heights for houses, vehicles, surrounding landscape, and of course your family.

Crown Thinning: Branches are selectively removed to increase air circulation through the crown and to increase the amount of light able to penetrate through the branches. The weight on heavy limbs is reduced and the foliage of the tree opens helping the tree retain its natural shape. A common mistake is over-thinning which will leave a tree unbalanced and can result in limbs that are more prone to failure.

Crown Reduction: The size of the tree is reduced. This process is most commonly used in coordination with utility lines. The height and width of the tree is reduced while the structural integrity is maintained.

As a tree ages, it will require less routine pruning as long as the proper pruning was a part of the initial growth process. In fact in large, mature trees, pruning is often a process of only removing dead, dying, or potentially hazardous limbs.

Arborists certified by the International Society of Arboriculture play key roles in the pruning process as they will be able to determine what type of pruning is best for your tree, and for you. With a Certified Arborist, the guesswork of which branches to cut is eliminated as are many safety concerns. Pruning large trees can be very dangerous. Peace of mind can come with a professional crew with all of the necessary safety equipment, liability insurance, and worker’s compensation insurance. Embark Services’s team of Certified Arborists, degreed Foresters, and highly experienced crews will work to help ensure the health, safety, and beauty of your trees.

Trees add to the value and beauty of your landscape, but only if properly maintained. Make sure that your trees are properly pruned so that they can reach their full tree potential.